An effort to protect children in foster care kicked off on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati. The Invisible Kids Project launched on Saturday afternoon. It's made up of foster and adoptive parents, caseworkers and others. The goal is to ensure children in protective services have a healthy relationship with their caregivers.
Five Super Powers I Wish I Had: The ability to stop time. There is NEVER enough time in the day. You end up working 12 hour days (still getting paid for 8) and you don’t have a life outside of work. Oh, and you would have time to eat! Predicting the future. You use your best judgment and the “skills” you learned in formal education and training. Then the real world is totally different. Your “gut instinct” isn’t something you can prove and means absolutely nothing in court, and sometimes people’s behavior defies all logic. The result is life and death: breaking up families or leaving a child in a potentially dangerous situation. You can never be 100% sure of anything. Teleportation. So much of your time is spent traveling and it is so frustrating. And some babies cry in cars… A lot! Visiting kids in residential treatment can be [...]
Erika Palmer, a staff attorney at Advocates for Children in New York City, explains parents’ rights to stay involved in their children’s education while their children are in foster care. Advocates for Children’s special project on foster care guides parents and child welfare agencies on educational decision-making for children in care. 1. Keep in Contact With the School Parents should know that, even if you can’t have unsupervised contact with your children when they enter foster care, you can still go to their schools, talk to their teachers, or get any school documents unless there’s a court order saying you can’t have contact with the school. Also, the child protective agency is required to do school visits, and these visits should involve the parent. Finally, if the child changes schools after entering foster care, the parent should be involved in that decision. When children enter foster care, there’s nothing legally [...]
“Visiting between parents and their children in foster care is generally considered to be the most important factor contributing toward timely reunification. Visiting maintains the connection between parents and child during placement and allows the worker to assess the readiness of parent and child for reunification.” —From: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/promising-practices-in-reunification.pdf# Many biological parents feel a tremendous amount of pressure walking into the visitation each week. All eyes are on you to see how you will perform your parental duties with your children. It really doesn’t seem like a recipe for success when you know the way you care for your children over the next two hours can help or hurt your chances of getting them back. People don’t act themselves under that much scrutiny. Then, it only adds to your tension to see your children wearing clothes that aren’t the ones you bought or a new haircut. They almost feel as if [...]
Coming Soon... Recent video shoot at Cincinnati Zoo with Ron Evans, the zookeeper who oversaw the care and transition of Gladys the baby gorilla neglected by her biological mother. Humans share 98% DNA with gorillas. What might we learn from 'the happiest animal in the zoo'? Stay tuned for the premier on www.invisiblekids.org.
em·pa·thy noun \ˈem-pə-thē\ : the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings. —Merriam Webster "Does anyone understand how I feel?" This can be said by anyone engaged in the system every day: foster child, caseworker, biological and/or foster parent. Each party involved in the child protection system feels at times that they are misunderstood or not being heard. It is so important for each of us to work hard to put ourselves in the shoes of the other so that we can work most effectively for the greater good of the only one who didn't choose to be in it: the child. Foster children often feel that no one cares what they think about decisions being made on their behalf. We might ask them, but do we really want to know and do we really listen? Do we think about how the [...]
U.S. Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities vs. U.S. Combined Military Deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2001-2010
Child maltreatment deaths in US* Combined US military deaths during 2 wars** Imagine if we harnessed our best thinking, resources, and passion around protecting children from abuse or neglect. How would we change their lives; and ours? For Them: Better school performance Increased physical health and wellness Reduced risk of mental health problems Increased chance of lifelong success Stability, comfort, love, and a chance for a happy childhood AND future For Us: Lower health care costs Lower crime rates Increased vibrancy and health of our communities Healthier economy Sense of purpose and meaning Sounds like a WIN-WIN!! We can totally do this. And you can help! * Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, “Child Maltreatment , 2001-2010” **www.icasualties.org Coalition Military Fatalities By Year and Month – Operation Enduring Freedom and Coalition Military Fatalities By Year – Operation Iraqi Freedom. [...]
What is there to be afraid of? Ask any foster parent that question and they can easily pull about five things off the top of their head. Losing the child they have grown to love. Being accused of hurting a child in their home Losing their license for inadvertantly not following a rule or regulation Having a child placed in your home that doesn't fit your family Having a child in your home that hurts a family member Having a child with issues you are not prepared to deal with Will there be repercussions from the biological family Just to name a few! These are weighty issues to say the least and most insiders as well as outsiders often ask, "How do you get past the fears?" The truth is, fear can easily paralyze us. The trick is to acknowledge it and let it inform our decisions. I tell people to spend some [...]
First of all, let’s make something very clear. We LOVE System Monster. Think of our monster friends from the blockbuster hit “Monsters, Inc.” Most of those monsters were good and well-intended. They never meant any harm. They liked kids, even LOVED them. That’s awesome. Yay for monsters! Yay for kids! System Monster is much the same. In fact, System Monster saves the lives of kids every single day across the country. Seriously. Every single day. For that, System Monster totally rocks. Unfortunately, System Monster also hurts kids. Seriously. Every single day. Totally not cool. System Monster is a product of a well-intended child protection system created in the 1870s to protect abused and neglected kids when their families hurt them. Lots of good and smart people have been trying to improve it ever since without a whole lot of sustained success. Yikes! At IKP, System Monster represents the energy and [...]
Who’s Who in the Zoo? I couldn’t resist. If you’ve ever sat in juvenile court for any length of time, you know what I mean. It can feel like a zoo. Here’s who’s at the table: The parents or prior custodians (sometimes is a relative like an aunt or uncle). The child who is supposed to be the most important player. There are lots of laws that govern the decisions regarding reunification of families (parents and kids) but the one that should trump all is the best interest of the child. The caseworker. For more info on what this job entails, visit http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/child-and-family-social-worker The foster parents or other substitute caregivers (such as extended family) The court players: The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) for the child. Guardian ad Litem is Latin for ‘guardian in the meantime’. This person may or may not be an attorney. The GAL is responsible for representing [...]